Teacher Grief

I didn’t know what to do today; there is no instruction manual. And conflict and miscommunication can happen so easily and so quickly when everything is out of balance. 

I wanted to run to the kids and hold them tight, assuring them that everything will be okay. 

But I can’t guarantee that. Life experience tells me that for most everything will eventually be okay but it may not be for all of them, as much as I hope it is. 

First break I couldn’t even look at the kids most impacted by Nick’s death. I was terrified I would crumble into a heap. And as a teacher, is that okay? 

Second break I forced myself to reach out. Grateful I did. 

None of us know what to say or what to do. We don’t want to impose ourselves into your grief and we also want you to know that we are here with you, very much feeling the grief too. Asking ourselves the same questions you possibly are. Not quite believing that it is true and waiting for someone, anyone, to slap us and say, ‘Got ya!’ 

Teachers cry too. 

To be a good teacher, you have to love your kids. It’s awesome sharing the good times. And in a way, the bad times. But only because it lessens the alone-ness that grief inevitably brings with it. In bucket loads. 

Meh. I know what I want to say but the words aren’t coming. I keep seeing a cheeky grin. 

Nick and I had cause to have lots of chats. A Head Teacher will do whatever they can to support their staff. In this case, lots of chats. Nick wasn’t evil, just cheeky, and ably assisted by his friends. For some reason, the final hiding in cupboards keeps coming to mind. At the time it was like the worst crime ever; now it’s like tinged with fondness, affection even. We don’t expect that our students won’t be there forever, memorialising their cheeky deeds long after their school days have passed. We don’t expect to not be able to feign our anger and frustration for the rest of our days. 

Kids are meant to outlive adults. It never makes sense when they don’t. 

And I don’t get this. People say that he’s gone to a better place but he should still be in this place. The pain that people are feeling, his family, his friends, his teachers, none of it makes sense to me. I don’t get why he had to die and why he made those choices. I don’t get why we couldn’t have saved him. 

I know we can’t save everyone. I say that. But I don’t think I can believe it fully or accept it at all. We are teachers. We are meant to save kids. It’s what we do. It’s why we put up with the long hours, the perpetual abuse, the marking, the reports, the garbage, because at the end of the day, we save kids. We help them find the path to happiness and fulfilment, and when we fail, well, it sucks. 

And I know it isn’t just up to us, and that we can only save those that want or need saving, but tonight, today, I just wanted to grab all of those kids and hug them tightly to protect them from this pain, this grief, this moment. And I couldn’t. 

2 thoughts on “Teacher Grief

  1. Feeling your loss Tina…I didnt know Nick but have experienced my brother’s passing almost 11 years ago. There are no answers and the only solace is in keeping the happy fond memories alive. Sharing your grief and loss with your students is a tremendous thing…it teaches them how to greive but also the process of recovery from such a loss. Hugs to you my dear friend xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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